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How to market your transit services

Are you launching a new fixed-route/on-demand transit service or looking to increase ridership for your existing services? Have you considered how you will get riders’ attention?

At TransLoc, we recognize that the success of your service is measured by riders on your bus or shuttle. Marketing is a vital piece in educating and informing riders to ensure the success of your service.

Maybe you’re saying, “OBVI! We know marketing is important.” Fair enough.

But do you know how to develop a comprehensive marketing plan — one that features measurable goals and engaging marketing materials?

Don’t sweat it! We’re here to help. Follow these steps when creating your next big marketing campaign:

Set Goals, Generate Team Buy-In, and Craft Messaging

Start by defining your goals as an agency and establishing a marketing budget. Goals might include boosting ridership numbers, lowering wait times, or increasing app bookings versus dispatcher bookings. A good rule of thumb is to break down these goals across 30-60-90 days.

If it’s a new service, define what the service is and what it is not. For example, if it’s an evening on-demand service, share hours of operation and goal of the service. Work with your dispatchers and administrators to get buy-in and educate them on the ins and outs of the service. Provide a script and Q&A documents to support service inquiry calls from riders. The more supporting documents you provide, the more confident (and accurate) your dispatchers and administrators will be in relaying the message.  

Create and Share Marketing Materials

With your goals and messaging finalized, it’s time to start building print and digital marketing materials (shameless plug alert: use our self-service Rider Marketing Toolkit to create customized branded materials!)

Prepare social media and email campaigns highlighting the value of the service linking back to your website for more details. Make sure your website includes updated information on the service and a QR code to download the TransLoc app. If it’s a new service, write and send your press release to local media outlets to post on the launch date. 

Want the most bang for your buck when it comes to your print materials? Add the TransLoc app QR code to assets for an easy download experience. Analyze your agency data to discover where your riders live, shop, and spend their free time; these are all good locations for flyers, posters, and app download cards. Partner with local employment centers, HOAs, senior living communities, and nonprofit organizations to share marketing materials. If you are launching a new on-demand service, hang print collateral in your fixed-route buses or vice versa.

Above all else, remember to respect the principles of design when designing any print or digital materials. You don’t need to be an art savant on the level of Banksy; even a basic understanding of what constitutes “good design” can significantly improve the readability of your materials.

Stay Engaged

Once you have launched or relaunched a service, focus your marketing efforts on consistent rider acquisition and retention. Conduct a rider survey to learn what’s working and needs improvement with your service (shameless plug alert #2: our Marketing Services team can support the creation, launch and analysis of a survey!) Build relationships with your riders by liking or responding to their messages on social media or showcasing a rider story with the local media (ask the rider’s permissions first!)

Know When to Ask for Help

Got a complicated marketing idea? Marketing Services will untangle it. Our dream team of marketing professionals will listen to your goals and design a streamlined campaign that saves you the two most valuable resources: time and money.